The L.A. Times has finally reported the military’s denial of an airstrike in Ramadi on November 13 or 14, in this story.
The paper doesn’t exactly admit that no airstrike occurred in central Ramadi on November 13 or 14. But new interviews done by the paper’s mysterious unnamed Ramadi stringer have Iraqis saying they “assumed” that it was an airstrike that caused the deaths:
Several residents said that they saw helicopters and a jet fighter during the confrontations and assumed that some of the explosions were caused by airstrikes. U.S. ground units are often accompanied by air support during military operations.
The editors also appear to be backing off of the article’s original claim of 15 “pulverized” houses:
“Six houses were leveled to the ground and 10 others were damaged to varying degrees,” said Ahmad Hummadi, 50, a laborer. “But all of the houses were abandoned because they were no longer suitable for habitation.”
The editors appear to be demanding immediate answers from the military again:
Marines did not immediately respond to inquiries about the total number of civilian dead . . .
Why would Marines need to “immediately respond” to inquiries in a December 28 update to a November 15 story??
This whole issue came up because the L.A. Times demanded an immediate response to its reports of dozens of people killed by an airstrike — and never reported the eventual response, leaving it to me to report the military denial.
I have my own inquiries in to Lt. Col. Salas, and he needn’t respond “immediately.” I’ll give him whatever time he needs to give me an adequate response.
P.S. I hope to have a more extensive post about this soon. I’ve had information about the airstrike for a week, but haven’t been able to post it due to spotty Internet access and family obligations.
UPDATE: I’m sorry. Posting the information I have been sent and placing it in proper context is just too daunting a task given the limited time I have. I’m still learning information that is critical to understanding the pictures I’ve been sent, and I need to be able to explain it all, rather than simply throw it all out there for speculation. This story has waited long enough, and may have to wait a few more days. It’s more important to get it right than just to get it out there. Hopefully I’ll get more reaction from Lt. Col. Salas in the meantime.
In the meantime it’s sufficient to note that not even the L.A. Times is still claiming that the damage was done by an airstrike — only that residents assumed that it was. (Interesting that all these witnesses are now saying they assumed this. Does that seem credible to you — or does it seem like words were put in their mouths with leading questions?) I think that’s much closer to the actual truth, for reasons that should become more clear when I can finally find time to post the information I have received.
UPDATE x2: I will note this: it’s obvious that the only reason that there was any follow-up with Salas is because I did a post questioning the story. But, as with the story of the
four burning mosque s, there are plenty of other stories that bloggers haven’t questioned, but that might be flawed. I think we’ll never know the extent of the inaccuracies.
UPDATE x3: The L.A. Times story claimed 15 pulverized homes, not 15-20. It was another story (done by enemy propaganda sources) that claimed 15-20. I corrected the post to change “15-20″ to “15.”